Board of Education and community members listened Thursday night as superintendent candidate Geraldine Moore outlined her vision for Rochester Community Schools.
Moore, assistant superintendent for instruction for Rochester schools, is one of three finalists for the position. at the end of the school year.
About 30 people turned out for the interview session at . Community members had one hour to ask questions, followed by a two-hour interview by board members.
Community members’ questions ranged from asking about Moore's leadership skills to the ways she would attract students to the school system.
- On how Moore would deal with a conflict between administration and parents: “Whenever there is any kind of conflict, I believe in one-on-one and sitting down with people and listening,” she said. Moore added she would make sure the parent talks with the teacher or principal first, and then she would bring them all into her office to work on an agreement.
- On how long she sees herself remaining in Rochester: “I would like to finish my career in Rochester,” Moore said. “This is a great district and I want to take it to the next level.”
- On which programs she would consider to bring students back to Rochester Schools: Moore would consider an all-day kindergarten program to attract families. She also said she would consider other improvements to the curriculum, such as developing individual student education plans.
- On how she would handle moving from assistant superintendent to superintendent of the district: “I will always be approachable,” she said. “I will always be available, no matter what my title is.”
Before the interviews this week, the board asked each finalist to outline in writing their vision for Rochester schools and what they would implement if money were no object. Each candidate then submitted a memo in response. On Thursday night, the board asked Moore questions stemming from this memo.
She first outlined 10 key factors that she would implement. They were:
- A new evaluation tool for teachers that is tied to student achievement.
- Redesigned professional development strategies, such as extending the school day.
- All principals would be trained to enhance teacher interaction, meaning teachers would share successful strategies with one another.
- She would revise the respect code and encourage cultural competence and bullying prevention programs, not just for students but also for staff.
- She would lead a book study on the The Global Achievement Gap, which discusses a new learning environment for schools in the 21st century.
- She would ensure technology is current and relevant and make sure staff members are trained to use those tools.
- She would evaluate the current technology and how to make it more accessible to students. “It should not matter what building the child is in, they should have the same opportunities,” she said.
- Moore would increase opportunities for student growth by developing an education plan for each student.
- Implementation of all-day kindergarten.
- In addition, she would encourage more right-brained activities, such as music or foreign languages, in the elementary schools.
Board member Lisa Nowak asked Moore to clarify what a 21st century learning environment looks like.
“What you would see is computers, students on computers working at individual paces,” she said. At one point, Moore compared computers in the classroom to the introduction of books. At the high school level, she envisions students taking online courses to expand the curriculum.
When asked by board member Marty Sibert whether math and science should be stressed in public education over creativity and innovation, she said, "both." But when pressed to choose one over the other, she added, “I personally believe it’s important to be creative and take the information and apply it.”
Board President Barb Cenko asked how Moore would encourage families to be involved in the student education plans she would like to implement. To that, Moore replied, “It’s really important for people to talk and find out why they’re not engaged. Sometimes, for parents, they’re not engaged because of their own experience. They might have had a bad experience in school.”
Board members also asked Moore how she handled challenges such as resistance to change or implementing directives for which she did not agree. Moore responded that it’s important to listen to concerns and consider the problem from other viewpoints.
When asked about addressing the needs of all students, Moore explained that she had a gifted and talented specialist visit the elementary schools and enhanced the middle school language arts programs. In addition, she helped add more Advanced Placement classes at the high school.
As for students who are struggling, she has used learning consultants, she said.
In other topics, Moore stressed the importance of effective communication and her focus on instruction.
“Teacher effectiveness is the single most important factor,” she said.
If chosen for the position, Moore said she would work closely with the board, make tough decisions and remain approachable.
“You’re doing it out of passion for the company, in this case, Rochester Schools, rather than doing it for yourself,” she said, summarizing her candidacy.
The third and final superintendent candidate, , will interview tonight at 6 p.m. at Stoney Creek High School. After, board members plan to discuss and ultimately choose the next superintendent. .